Localbitcoins, Crypto.com, Other Providers Suspend Services for Russians Under EU Rules

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Localbitcoins, Crypto.com, Other Providers Suspend Services for Russians Under EU Rules

Complying with the latest EU sanctions targeting Russia, well-known cryptocurrency platforms like Localbitcoins, Blockchain.com, and Crypto.com have started to restrict or terminate services for Russian accounts. The moves follow the adoption of new European penalties in response to Moscow’s military escalation in Ukraine.

Major Crypto Platforms Conform to EU Measures, Restrict Services for Russian Users Over Ukraine War

About a week after the European Union introduced another set of measures aimed at hurting Russia’s economy and finances, including its access to the crypto market, a number of service providers in the industry have taken steps to comply with the new requirements. In April, the bloc banned only high-value services, those for digital assets exceeding €10,000 in value ($11,000 at the time). Last Thursday, Brussels prohibited the provision of all crypto-related services to Russian residents and entities, regardless of the amount.

Localbitcoins, the peer-to-peer exchange platform, has recently told Russian citizens it can no longer offer them its services, Forklog reported. The only exception that can be made is for persons that also hold a passport issued by a country from the European Economic Area (EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland, those who have a permanent residence permit in these jurisdictions.

The crypto news outlet also revealed that wallet operator Blockchain.com has sent out a notice informing customers that due to the EU sanctions, it’s unable to provide custodial and rewards services to Russian nationals. The company has asked affected users to withdraw their funds by Oct. 27, after which date their accounts will be blocked.

The crypto news page of the leading Russian business portal RBC, which confirmed this development, also posted about Crypto.com’s decision to add Russia to its list of countries, the citizens of which cannot take advantage of its services. The crypto exchange, with over 50 million claimed users, is registered in Singapore but recently announced its intention to establish a regional headquarters in Paris, France.

Another exchange that plans to introduce restrictions is Bitmex. U.S.-based Coinbase assured it complies with all relevant laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where it operates. Service providers from other sectors of the crypto industry have already done that, too. For example, Dapper Labs suspended operations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for Russian accounts. British fintech Revolut is not working in the Russian market at all.

However, not all global crypto platforms have conformed to the new European rules. As a recent report unveiled, major exchanges are still available to Russians. These include Huobi, which stated that it maintains stable trading for Russian users, FTX, which operates out of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the Seychelles-registered Okx, Kucoin, and Mexc Global. The regional leader, Exmo, sold its Russian business to a local vendor this past spring and Exmo.me is still active in Russia.

Do you expect other crypto platforms to comply with the European sanctions against Russia? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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